Committee on Finance. - State Property Bill, 1954—Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1 :—

To add to the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(5) As soon as may be after the 30th day of June and the 31st day of December in every year the Minister shall cause to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas a statement giving particulars of all waivers, releases and discharges made or granted during the preceding half-year in exercise of the powers conferred by this section.

Deputy Aiken, on the Second Reading, suggested that it might be desirable to lay before each House a statement showing any waivers that had been made under this Bill. I agreed then to consider the matter. I am introducing this amendment for the purpose of giving effect to that undertaking—a statement to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas every six months, as are particulars of leases to be laid.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 12, as amended, put and agreed to.
Sections 13 to 26, inclusive, put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 15, lines 24 and 25, to delete paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) and substitute the following:—

(b) the right of the State to such land was waived and a conveyance or assignment of such land or right thereto was executed in favour of any person.

This is purely a verbal amendment. It is for the sake of better phraseology.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 27, as amended, put and agreed to.
Sections 28 to 39, inclusive, put and agreed to.
First and Second Schedules and Title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I should like to ask the Minister about the lands that he intends to hand over to the Land Commission for division. Frequently in this House, and particularly during the last emergency, I have had to call attention to the scandalous example given by the manner in which the State was handling these lands. The State had compulsory powers to compel every farmer to till his holding but hundreds of acres of these lands were untilled.

The Minister will remember that last year I raised a question in regard to a particular estate—the estate at Moorpark, Kilworth. He came in at the time. I am glad to see that he is now finishing the job he said was delayed so long at that period. I want to know from the Minister how long, in his opinion, it will take before the lands at Moorpark are handed over to the Land Commission for division. Has the Minister any intentions of dealing with the Curragh on the same lines? These are matters that concern us all. You had over 450 acres in the Moorpark estate—450 acres of arable land which was used only for grazing. It is the best of tillage land. I am sure the people of that district would feel far happier if they could see that land divided up and the uneconomic holders in the district getting portions of it. What I would be anxious to hear from the Minister is the length of time he thinks it will now take before his Department will hand this land over to the Land Commission for division. There are also some thousands of acres in the Kilworth area which could be handed over without any loss to anybody and which at present are practically derelict. Perhaps the Minister will tell us how long he thinks it will take.

It would be dangerous for me to offer any definite estimate to Deputy Corry as to how long the disposal would take. The only thing I can say is that I hope it will not take as long as this Bill. Consideration of some such measure was, I believe, first started in or around the year 1927 when the present Taoiseach was Attorney-General. It will not take as long as this Bill took.

It will take as long as the Bill took going through the House —would that be near the mark?

The Moorpark estate to which the Deputy referred was one of the properties the disposal of which was held up pending this Bill. When this Bill has been enacted we will be able to give active attention to it and with such a speed, I hope, in the various Departments that will be responsible that will astound even the Deputy.

I am a little bit apprehensive of Deputy Corry's query about the Curragh. Is it that Deputy Corry wishes to transfer from the East Cork constituency to Kildare? I trust that is not so. The Curragh is dealt with under a special Act of 1870 and there are certain private rights on it, as apart from State lands, which require very careful consideration.

Question put and agreed to.